Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

Hey Parents,

Happy late birthday Dad.  Hope it was good.  Did you get anything fun?

It looks like Emily got thrown right into the thick of it.  When I first got there I was with a bunch of Americans and a few Koreans that spoke good English.  It seemed like I spoke more English than Korean.  I wanted to eat a lot of Korean food but for the first couple of weeks we had all American or Chinese food.  Good to hear that she is good with the food already.

We have had a really good week.  We tracted a lot, met an old drunk who was evidently Black Jesus in disguise, and saw a bunch of miracles.  We were always in just the right place at the right time to run into people who were looking or in need of help.  God has been guiding us and preparing people for us to at least plant a seed.  We are hoping for a record number of new investigators this week.

Satan has been hard at work as well though.  We haven't encountered many antis much until this last week.  I had to restrain myself a number of times to not get into a Bible bash with them.  J and K are having a hard time as well.  They are still doing all the things they need to progress but everything seems to be going wrong for them all of a sudden.  They are having a hard time with health and finances and work and are very stressed.  They are bearing it with patience though and still study and ask amazing, insightful questions.

We had a Zone conference this last week.  I saw Elder Jones there.  He told me that the Syrians we found on my last day in Mahoney are progressing amazingly, coming to church and feeding the missionaries good Arabic food.  I knew it!  I knew they would be awesome!  I'm really sad I missed teaching them.

As we have worked with people who are trying to change their life I am amazed at how blessed we are.  I was born to goodly parents who love the Lord and spared no pains in instructing us and teaching us to love God and come to Christ.  I have avoided so many of the dangers that are so common and destructive.  It has been awesome to talk with J especially as he talks about the things he has done and overcome.  He is a good Christian man who devotes so much of his time to helping others and bettering himself.  He is honest and genuine.  This change came as he gave himself over to God.  The man is a real life Jean Valjean.  The power of the Atonement is real and strong.  We can overcome every sin regardless of how large or small it is.  We can be perfect in Christ!

Love you all,

Elder Stapley

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015

Hola Familia!
It's already the last week of the transfer. I don't expect a change at all here but you never know.

We got to go to the temple on Friday.  It was great.  Pres. and Sister Gardner came and we all got to hang out a bit afterwards.  It was a bit bittersweet saying goodbye to some of the Elders leaving for home this week though.

Did you get the picture of us in front of the liquor store?  We were walking along and the people working there saw us and waved us over.  We wouldn't go in so they came out and talked to us a bit.  They were trying to  convince us that Jesus liked wine (water into wine was one of his first miracles after all) and we could come into the store and talk with them.  I was uncomfortable the entire time because we were standing at the door of this liquor store along the main street to the temple.  Sure enough we walk into ward council on Sunday and the Bishopric is laughing at something on Bro. B's phone.  He had seen us and driven around the block a second time to snap a picture.  During church the Bishop kept talking about what a great job we were doing at talking to everyone and the ward council would all quietly snicker at us.  I asked Bro. B to send the picture to you, thought you'd enjoy it.

So we've been working hard on talking to a lot more people and we've sure met some interesting ones this last week.  A lot of people just wanted money for "milk", or "gas", while swearing cause they misplaced their id.  Why do you need an id to buy milk?  One lady came up to us in McDonald's and started asking for money for food and the bus.  We talked to her for a little bit.  She told us how she heard evil voices that wouldn't leave her alone and that everyone was out to get her.  She knew she needed help spiritually but refused to actually do anything about it.  She wouldn't even take a Book of Mormon unless we bought her a tablet that she could read it on.  We couldn't really do anything for her.  Mom talked about how I can see the potential in others but I sure do get frustrated when people are so stupid that they won't even take the iron rod right in front of them.  This lady had even said that prayer had made the voices go away but she gave up on it because it didn't permanently fix the problem.  I'm grateful that God is patient with us but I can't comprehend how he does it.

We did have a number of really good experiences too, miraculous even.  We got a feeling to talk cross the street and talk to some people out on their porch.  It turns out that the man whose house it was had just lost his wife.  He was having a crisis of faith and his friends had come over to try to comfort him.  One of the guys was a deacon in another church and had been really worried about coming over there because there were a bunch of other people over that were bad influences.  He prayed for help and the bad friends left and we showed up.  We shared a message and honestly we don't even remember what we said but the spirit was present and we know the guy felt it.  He didn't really respond but we hope that he remembered how it felt. 

Just yesterday we ran into a lady who was initially really suspicious of us but eventually admitted that she was raised in the church.  She started crying and told us how the church had played a role in her early life.  It was heartbreaking to see how her life had turned out because she had let go of the iron rod and wandered off.  It seems her husband doesn't like the church but she wanted to stay in contact with us at least.  I hope we are able to help her out.

I'm out of time already.  I wanted to include something spiritual but I guess I'll get it in next week. You got more stories than usual at least.
Love you,
Elder Stapley

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 3, 2015

We set J and K for baptism on the 29th.  When I asked them if they thought they could do that J said, "Not to have a big head or anything, but I can have my answer way before that".  They just have to quit smoking though.  They are trying.  They fasted for strength yesterday and even gave a fast offering.

We have been focusing on finding people this transfer and this last week we were able to get a bunch of new people.  I am a bit worried about them though.  There are a couple of teenage girls that were way too excited to talk to us, some older people who would just talk over us and didn't really listen and a gay guy that tried to hook us up with some of his "homegirls".  
"Do you like black girls?"  
"I'm a missionary. I like Jesus."  
He wants to come to church though.

We haven't been able to see any of our old people this transfer.  They are all busy or out of town.  We did get to see Ms. M this week though.  She is still stubborn but we are so close to setting her for baptism finally.  She is freakishly good at dodging questions and changing the subject though.  She is already out of town again so we'll have to wait a bit longer to set her.

We had interviews with Pres. Gardner this last week.  He is challenging us to memorize three scriptures every week for the rest of our mission.  He has promised increased power and spirituality if we do.  I am not at all good at this sort of thing but I am excited to think of what that sort of scriptural knowledge would do to my teaching ability.

I have to go they are shutting the computers off.
Love you! Bye,
Elder Stapley